Opening a Bank Account in the Philippines

Opening a bank account in the Philippines can be a bit more of a hassle than in some other Asian countries.


At every bank I have been to you must get an ACR card (Alien Certificate of Registration) before you can open one. That really slows down the process for any expat because I have heard conflicting reports on whether you can get your ACR card before you have been in the country for 2 months.

I would lean towards yes you probably can, but I don’t know of anyone that has done it.

Even if you can land here and instantly apply for an ACR card you will have to wait a few weeks for it to be made.  You also need to show proof of address and this can be a hassle as sometimes short term places foreigners stay don’t give out official leases.

Eventually you will be able to get everything set up, but don’t be surprised if you have to wait around and then leave the bank shaking your head a couple times before everything is finalized.

Opening a Bank Account in the Philippines

The two biggest banks in the Philippines are BDO (Banco De Oro) and BPI (Bank of the Philippines Islands).

I would suggest BDO for one main reason.  Every SM mall has a BDO inside and many BDO ATMs so you always know where to find one.  Since I am frequently at the mall handing out my number to sexy Filipinas anyways this makes things much easier.

They also have many branches outside of the mall which are usually better to go to because they will be less crowded. Take your passport when applying to open an account.

Wait to Open an Account Near Your Home

One annoying thing about opening a bank account in the Philippines is that you have a ‘home branch’ and any time you need to do business at another branch they charge you.

Say you open one in Manila in Makati but you are in Ermita and visit a BDO they will charge you 100 pesos.  This isn’t for an ATM, just for a teller visit.

If you are in any city outside of Manila then it is 200 pesos for any visit.  So you should try to make sure your home branch is near where you will frequent the most.  You can open another account if you move to save yourself from the fees.

Other Banking in Philippines Issues

They don’t really have printed bank statements, they just consider the passbook to be your statement.  This can get annoying if you need to send some financial information to someone because the passbook won’t have all the info you need.

It is very frustrating to go into a bank and have to wait to talk to the manager for 45 minutes to get a piece of paper that has your name, account number, and date on it.  And when they finally give you this, if they even do give you this, it is something you could have just made yourself and doesn’t look official at all.

You will get told different rules at each branch you visit.  If you go to one and they tell you more ‘requirements’ than you think you need go try another one.  I’ve been in banks that said a normal tourist ACR card is not enough and that I needed a resident ACR.  20 minutes later I am at a different branch and they are fine with the normal tourist ACR.

You can open dollar accounts here which really saves you a lot of money.  It is only a $5 charge to receive a transfer to a BDO dollar account on their end.  Your bank will charge also.  But that is much less then the charge would be if you got dollar shipped to a peso account.  You can withdraw pesos from the ATM or dollar from the teller and take the dollar to money changers.

2 Responses

  1. jspill says:

    if Filipina girls look like that, waiting in line can’t be that bad

  2. kick2dante says:

    hot pic obv needed for this column

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